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An Introduction to Poker HUD - The Program That Will Improve Your Game

Borislav A

Nov 19, 2022

Poker Enter Key

Poker is a game of information, and a HUD (Heads Up Display) is what provides that information. Whether you realise it or not, all of your decisions on the poker table up until now have probably been based on your opponent’s tendencies and your assumptions. But keeping track of rivals’ behaviours, especially when playing some of the quicker poker formats, is very challenging.  

And if you are one of the players who likes to fully engage in the action by enjoying multi-tabling, making proper decisions to exploit your opponents is nearly impossible. But how can professional online poker players engage in 10+ tables while consistently crushing opponents hand after hand? The answer lies in one unique poker tool that will significantly improve your online play.

What is a Poker HUD?

The Poker HUD is a program you can easily install on your computer. This application is then running automatically in the background as you play in different online poker sites to collect the hand histories of opponents in real time. As you engage more with a particular user and have more hands played with him, unique information will appear in floating panels next to his name and avatar. 

Depending on how the particular HUD is set up, you will have access to your opponents' tendencies with just a glance at their HUD profile. That's how you can save crucial time and energy and be able to make an informed decision instead of trying to remember the last time you were in a similar situation versus the same poker player. 

Is Using A Poker HUD Cheating?

Are Poker HUDs Legal?The HUD poker situation is different depending on the online room you are using. For the most part, using a tool like this is legal and approved by most poker rooms in the sector. But while some of them allow all kinds of HUDs to be used, others, like the Winning Poker Network skins, have specific requirements or restrictions on the programs you can use. That’s why particular HUD tools are illegal on some poker sites, and if you get caught playing online poker with one, you might even get banned. 

Checking out the terms and conditions of your poker site regarding using any poker tracking software is crucial. Luckily, most rooms understand poker HUD’s impact on players’ games, which is why they provide an exclusive integrated tool all their users can use to get an edge. Here at Natural8, we have the perfect example called Smart HUD. But more on that later. 

What Information Does the HUD Show?

The beauty of HUD is that it's created to show you some of the most crucial poker statistics to uncover your rivals' tendencies, enabling you to exploit them when you have the opportunity. To understand what we mean by that, we have prepared a small list with the common statistics you will come across in the standard free poker HUDs. 

VPIP

VPIP stands for "Voluntary Put in Pot" and it shows how active a particular player is and what is the average percentage of the hands where he puts money in the flop.

PFR

PFR refers to “Pre-Flop Raise” and It indicates the exact percentage of the time when your opponent raises preflop.

3Bet

This statistic shows how often your player re-raises pre-flop. 

Fold to 3Bet

The fold to 3Bet statistic shows the times your opponent folds after facing a re-raise. 

Post Flop Stats

As its name suggests, this is a set of statistics that clearly illustrate the most frequent actions a player bets or takes on the Flop, Turn, and River, respectively.

* Check out our guide on VPIP and PFR in Poker and 3-bets for more in-depth understanding.

Why is a Great Poker HUD the Essential Tool for Winning Players?

You should know the basic idea of HUD poker by now. However, to grasp the impact this tool might have on your long-term results and winnings, you have to understand how you can take full advantage of it. 

Finding Leaks in Your Own Game

Even if you follow a basic poker strategy, you might be doing something wrong without realising it. That’s why always being aware of your actions while playing poker is crucial. Of course, without some help, you can never do this while thinking of ways to edge your opponents in-game. But what if you can relax post-session and check how you have played each hand, decision by decision? 

This is the power of poker HUD. Aside from your opponents' hand histories, this tool also collects your own and creates your personal HUD profile. So you can check out how you have played each hand and even spot your tendencies to find leaks in your game. That's one of the best ways to use a HUD and become a better poker player by improving your game step by step. 

Makes Exploiting Opponents Easier

You should already have quite a few ideas in your mind about how you can use the data the HUD provides. When you can see where your opponents are the weakest, you can differentiate from your standard strategy and go for the complete exploit. For example, if a player is folding too much versus betting on the flop, you can increase the frequency of making these bets, even with weaker hands. 

On the contrary, you can always try to check your strongest holdings to allow your opponent to connect on the turn so that you can take as many chips as possible from the pot. The opportunities are limitless. You must focus on your opponent's HUD profile and exploit its weakest spots.

Multi-Tabling Becomes More Efficient

A hall full of live poker tablesWe already mentioned that if you like to enjoy more than one table at a time, the quality of your decisions drops drastically. Think about it. If you play three 6-max cash games, can you possibly remember what each of your 15 opponents has done in the last hand? What about in a unique spot that happened one hour ago? No matter how strong your memory is, that's impossible. 

This is where the HUD software comes in handy. By getting familiar with the statistics that your opponents’ HUD profiles show, you can spot unique player tendencies and think of exploits after just one glance at the panels. It looks like such a minor thing, but it will always make all the difference, especially when facing more skilful players.

Can You Win at Poker Without Using a HUD?

As you can see, there is hardly an easier way to quickly grasp how your opponent plays and get a significant edge on the poker table. But if you still don't understand how HUD works or are getting too overwhelmed by all the detailed information it displays, your poker game won't be hurting that much. The poker world might improve with remarkable speed, and the players are becoming more skilled daily, but poker HUDs are still not all that common. So, all in all, you can still be a winning player even without using tools like HUD poker. 

The Potential Dangers of Relying Too Much on a HUD

Even though free poker HUD would significantly improve your chances at the tables, don't think you will just install one of these programs and solve all your issues and leaks. The poker HUD can be a two-edged sword. 

If you are not careful with how you are using the tool, it might even make your game worse than it was before. How can this be possible? Well, there are a few hidden downfalls you must be aware of before deciding that you want to try out poker HUD. 

Basing Decisions on a Shallow Sample Size

You already know that the poker HUD constructs the statistics of your opponents based on the hands you have played with them. So, it would be best if you never rushed to make decisions based on the HUD stats you see for a particular player, especially during a head-up display. Instead, the first thing you always have to do is check out the sample size you have or the hands you have played with this opponent before. 

The more hand history you have, the more accurately the statistics will reflect your opponent’s playing style and tendencies. So, the fewer hand history files you have, the likelihood of the data being effectively usable would be lower. After all, you can’t expect to pick up on your opponent’s weak spots after only a few hands.

Getting Overwhelmed by Too Much Information 

Using HUD poker means you will have access to the statistics of all the players you are against simultaneously. Using the example we mentioned previously with the three 6-max tables, you will be looking at the stats of 15 different opponents. Who could be okay with that? If you are using HUD for the first time, we strongly suggest a slow beginning, one table maximum. 

Once you get used to the HUD and its different statistics, you can begin to slightly increase the number of tables you play or even add some quicker poker formats. But if you are not careful with that, you will get overwhelmed by the statistics, and your desired edge at multiple tables will quickly turn into a liability that hurts your winning chances.

Thinking That the Poker HUD Will Do All the Work 

Some individuals think that by getting a free poker HUD, they will immediately turn into winning players and begin slacking. Unfortunately, this can't be further from the truth! Even using a valuable tool like this, you will still have to make challenging decisions and fully own your results. 

The poker HUD won't control your game, and you can't blame it if things don't go your way. Moreover, it doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to win. That's why even when using a program like this, you have to be more concentrated than ever to correctly pick up on the opponent's tendencies and try to exploit them correctly. 

What is the Best Poker HUD You Can Use to Improve Your Game? 

In the extensive online poker world, you can use numerous programs with integrated HUDs to improve your game. The options range from Poker Tracker to Poker Copilot or even Holdem Manager. So, how do you pick from all the options? You must always choose a HUD that aligns with your own poker room, experience, and preferences. 

For our players here at Natural8, we recommend using our unique custom HUD called the Smart HUD, which is optimised exclusively for our platform and tailored perfectly to the requirements and preferences of our players.

To understand our tools' specifics and features, you can quickly check out our detailed Guide to Smart HUD and Pokercraft.